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The Sport Digest - ISSN: 1558-6448

Exercising to Exhaustion in Heated Ozone is a Formula For the Death of an Athlete

"Body Organs Bake & Athletes Die"

A Louisville high school football Athlete collapsed during practice on August 20, 2008. He died 3 days later in the hospital. In the Emergency Department his body temperature was 107* after IV fluids and traveling 40 minutes in an air-conditioned ambulance. Obviously, his core body temperature exceeded 107* when he collapsed on the practice field. 109* is fatal absent proper cooling. A kiddy iced pool appears the appropriate, rapid cooling method.

When he presented to the Emergency Department on stretcher, he could not breathe, had to be intubated (tube placed in his lungs for assisted breathing), was in cardiovascular/circulatory shock and had an impaired Central Nervous System from Exertional Heat Stroke. He required life support in Intensive Care.

The Coach was indicted for reckless homicide and wanton endangerment because the grand jury determined he practiced his Athletes in an Unsafe Environment.

The following is a thumbnail of the events and what can transpire. The Heat Index on the 20th was 94 as recorded in the Coach’s Log Book and as substantiated from records at Louisville Bowman Airfield. The Air Quality Index was near a dangerous 106. An Air Alert had been announced publically for Metro Louisville that fatal day.

The KHSAA has Heat Index Guidelines. A Heat Index of 94 is the most dangerous Heat Index in Kentucky because few precautions are taken. Those guidelines are published on line by the KHSAA.

“The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index for reporting daily Air Quality. It tells how polluted the outdoor air is and what associated health effects might be of concern for the general public. Local air quality affects how we live and breathe. Like the weather, it can change form day to day.”

“How Hot Is Hot” … enough for Heat Stroke is variable because it depends on Primary and Secondary Risk Factors. Athletes can have a Heat Stroke at 70* Fahrenheit if other Risk Factors are in play, most notably the Primary Risk Factors. A dangerous Air Quality Index is a Primary Risk Factor. It directly affects the Airway, Breathing, Circulatory and Cardiovascular systems, the ABC’s of Resuscitation. Medications and infections are Secondary Risk Factors. They are less fatal Risk Factors.

“An Air Quality Alert means the air is expected to be unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Sensitive Groups include active children and adults and people with lung disease, such as asthma. With an Alert these groups are recommended to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.” The Air Quality Index was expected to reach 106 on the 20th, the day the Athlete collapsed. The detrimental pollutant was increased ground level Ozone. Sensitive Groups can make their first appearance fatally.

That day there was an epidemic of Breathing difficulties at football practice. Several Athletes became nauseated, the first sign, and could not breathe. A second Athlete was transported in the same ambulance as the deceased and was hospitalized for 3 days with sever Asthma. He survived.

Some experts during the Trial testified that the deceased Football Athlete might have had a viral infection or Adderall might have been the detrimental Risk Factor because the initial CBC (Complete Blood Count) had 65% Lymphocytes, a shift from normal.

Exhaustion is when the metabolism converts from the normal Aerobic, when there is plenty of body energy and oxygen, to abnormal Anaerobic due to deficient energy and oxygen.

Exercise to Exhaustion in Ozone characteristically produces a shift to Lymphocytes in the CBC 1 to 3 hours after weight lifting and 1 to 3 hours after running gassers to exhaustion. Lymphocytes are hailed to the blood stream by epinephrine and norepinephrine during Exercise to and beyond Exhaustion Stress as many, many immunologists have reported who are concerned with the affects of Exhaustion on Athlete Immunity, an important global topic nowadays.

“The health implications of Global Warming are the deadly effects a heat wave combined with Ozone have on Athletes practicing or playing outside.” Increasing evidence suggests the Ozone and Heat Index affect each other synergistically. This is Key. In other words, the presence of increased ground level Ozone increases the absolute number or the Heat Index and the presence of high Heat Index increases the absolute number of ground level Ozone. Therefore the Heat index on the 20th was higher than 94 and the AQI was higher than 106. There appears to be a linear relationship between the AQI and the Heat Index.

It appears the Football Athlete’s final clinical cause of death was Ozone Intoxication in addition to Exertional Heat Stroke. Dehydration was not proven as a cause of death. Complete autopsy was not concluded with an internal body post mortem examination.

Global Warming, heat waves, Air Alerts and Ozone are more common now, particularly in urban areas. Many Athlete Sudden Deaths occur in urban areas during heat waves when dangerous Air Alerts have been overlooked or ignored. Coaches must be aware of dangers and be vigilant concerning the athletic environment.

Every Coach should check every aspect of the environment, including AQI and Heat Index, before proceeding outdoors for practice or play of any sport. As Caretaking Supervisors, Coaches are responsible for the Health and Welfare of their Athletes during practice and play.

Many Amateur Coaches and Athletes are shocked to learn that they can be liable civilly and criminally for injuries they inflict, cause or create, directly or indirectly on Their Athletes or Opponent Athletes during practice or play, even in contact sports though they comply with High School Association rules and regulations.

Child Protection Laws are the Standard of Amateur Coaching Care. Every Coach has the Duty of Care.